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Genetics. 2000 Jan;154(1):155-65.

Isolation and characterization of Nrf1p, a novel negative regulator of the Cdc42p GTPase in Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and the Markey Center for Molecular Genetics, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA.


The Cdc42p GTPase and its regulators, such as the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cdc24p guanine-nucleotide exchange factor, control signal-transduction pathways in eukaryotic cells leading to actin rearrangements. A cross-species genetic screen was initiated based on the ability of negative regulators of Cdc42p to reverse the Schizosaccharomyces pombe Cdc42p suppression of a S. cerevisiae cdc24(ts) mutant. A total of 32 S. pombe nrf (negative regulator of Cdc forty two) cDNAs were isolated that reversed the suppression. One cDNA, nrf1(+), encoded an approximately 15 kD protein with three potential transmembrane domains and 78% amino-acid identity to a S. cerevisiae gene, designated NRF1. A S. pombe Deltanrf1 mutant was viable but overexpression of nrf1(+) in S. pombe resulted in dose-dependent lethality, with cells exhibiting an ellipsoidal morphology indicative of loss of polarized cell growth along with partially delocalized cortical actin and large vacuoles. nrf1(+) also displayed synthetic overdose phenotypes with cdc42 and pak1 alleles. Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-Cdc42p and GFP-Nrf1p colocalized to intracellular membranes, including vacuolar membranes, and to sites of septum formation during cytokinesis. GFP-Nrf1p vacuolar localization depended on the S. pombe Cdc24p homolog Scd1p. Taken together, these data are consistent with Nrf1p functioning as a negative regulator of Cdc42p within the cell polarity pathway.

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